Grammar Guide for Nouns

The noun is one of the most fundamental and important parts of speech. When combined with a verb they form the foundation of a complete sentence. In addition, nouns function as the central word in many clauses and phrases. The terms below are described in simple English and examples are given. 

NOUN: names a thing, person, place, e  vent, oridea.

  • Thing: rock, tree, dorr
  • Person: son, coach, nurse
  • Place: home, store, park
  • Event: concert, play, parade
  • Idea : love, peace, freedom

Nouns Classroom Poster Chart

1. TYPES OF NOUNS: There are eight categories of nouns. Often these are paired to show the contrast between them. Common nouns refer to general nouns but proper nouns refer to specific nouns. Count and noncount nouns refer to number or the lack of it.. Concrete nouns are tangible while abstract nouns have intangible qualities or ideas. Lastly, Two words combine to create a compound noun. Collective nouns refer to a group of things or people.

A. Common Noun: names a general, nonspecific noun.

  • Thing: school
  • Person: girl
  • Place: city

B. Proper Noun: names a specific noun. Proper nouns are always capitalized.

  • Thing: North Elementary School
  • Person: Ellen Green
  • Place: New York City

C. Count Noun: can be counted and have singular and plural forms.

  • 1 cat, 2 tables, 4 chairs, 10 forks

C.1. Singular Noun: has a quantity of one item.

  • a blanket, an apple, one boy, one house

C.2. Regular Plural Noun: has a quantity of two or more. These are formed with the suffix endings of -s. -es, or -ies.

  • light + s = lights
  • lunch + es = lunches
  • berry - y + ies = berries

C.3. Spelling Rules for Regular Plural Nouns: for adding -s, -es, and -ies to plural nouns.

  • Add -s to most nouns:
    • dogs, clocks, lights
  • Add -s to nouns ending in e:
    • shoes, pictures, whales
  • Add -s to nouns ending with a vowel + Y:
    • days, keys, boys
  • Add-es to nouns ending with ch, sh, s, x, or z:
    • lunches, dishes, buses, boxes, quizzes
  • Nouns ending with f or fe, change the f/fe to v, Add-es:
    • leaf-leaves, knife-knives
  • Nouns ending with consonant + Y, change the Y to I, Add-es: 
    • story-stories, baby-babies
  • Add -s or -es to nouns ending with O: These rules are tricky, so check a dictionary.
    • taco-tacos, tomato-tomatoes

Plural Nouns Classroom Poster Chart

C.4. Irregular Plural Noun: forms its plural in an unique way. It does not us -s or -es to make a plural.

  • child - children
  • foot - feet
  • man - men
  • cactus - cacti
Irregular Plural Nouns Classroom Poster

    D. Noncount Noun: cannot be counted. They do not have a plural form. They take single verbs. Groups, gases, liquids, languages, studies, abstract ideas, weather, sports and recreational activities, and things with small pieces.

    • The luggage is packed.
    • The smoke drifts slowly into the sky.
    • Coffee is my breakfast drink.
    • Arabic is spoken in many nations.
    • Time passes slowly when you are waiting.

    Noncount Nouns Classroom Poster Chart

    E. Concrete Noun: a noun that you can touch, hear, see, or taste.

    • Touch: bowl, wall
    • Hear: water, car
    • See: bird, chair
    • Taste: pizza. coffee

    F. Abstract Noun: names a quality, idea or condition.

    • Quality: love, kindness
    • Idea: truth, freedom
    • Condition: happiness, peace

    G. Compound Noun: Two words combine to create a noun.

    • snow + man = snowman
    • pop + corn = popcorn
    • hand + shake = handshake

    Compound Words Classroom Poster Chart

    H. Collective Noun: refers to a group or things or beings.

    • a pair of shoes
    • my English class
    • a herd of cows

    Types of Nouns Classroom Poster Chart

    2. NOUN FUNCTIONS and POSTIONS: Nouns have many grammatical functions in a sentence. They can be the subject, direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition. They can  be subject and object complements. The function determine the position of a noun in a sentence.

    A. Subject: does the action or shows the state of being.

    • Action: Brad played soccer.
    • State: The room is clean.

    B. Direct Object: comes after and action/transitive verb. It answers What? or Who?

    • What? He threw a ball.
    • Who? I called Rachel before school.

    C. Indirect Object: comes after an action / transitive verb and answers To Whom? or To What?

    • Gave the pen to whom? I gave Jane a pen.
    • Made cookies for what? She made her class cookies.

    D. Object of a Preposition: comes after a preposition and answers Whom? What? When? or Where?

    • Whom? I ate with my family I sit by Harry. We talked to them.
    • What? We learned about the moon. It is made from recycled paper.
    • When? The game is on Friday. We will meet at nine o'clock.
    • Where? They went into the house. Put it on the table.

    E. Appositive: renames, describes or clarifies the noun it is beside. The sentence is complete when the appositive is removed.

    • Emily, my daughter, is a nurse.
    • I want you to meet my English teacher, Ms. Jacobs

    F. Subject Complement: comes after a linking verb and renames the subject.

    • Matthew is the contest winner. (Matthew = winner)
    • My truck is a red Ford Ranger. (truck =  Ranger)

    G. Object Complement: renames or describes the direct object.

    • We consider John a good employee. (John = employee)
    • I find science an interesting subject. (science = subject)

    Noun Functions Classroom Poster Chart

     3. POSSESSIVE NOUN: shows possession or ownership. Singular nouns, plural nouns and multiple nouns show possession by adding 's oo an apostrophe.

    • Singular noun + 's:
      • boy's hat, girl's jacket
    • Singular noun ending in s + ':
      • bus' door, Jess' lunch
    • Plural noun ending in s + ':
      • boys' room, girls' supper
    • Irregular plural noun + 's:
      • children's toys, men's clothes
    • Multiple nouns, shared possession, the last noun shows possession:
      • Tom and Jack's home
    • Multiple nouns, separate possessions, all nouns show possession:
      • Carrie's and Jill's dresses

      Possessive Noun Classroom Poster Chart

       4. VERBS that Function as Nouns: Gerunds and infinities are two verb forms that act as nouns in a sentence. 

      A. Gerunds: is a present participle (verb + ing) that is used as a noun. It can be a subject, direct object, object of a preposition, and a subject complement.

      • Subject: Skiing is a winter sport.
      • Direct Object: I like knitting.
      • Object of a Preposition: Elliot is good at drawing.
      • Subject Complement: Today's lesson is painting.

      Gerunds Classroom Poster Chart

      B. Infinites: is a verb preceded by "to". These can be used as a subject, direct object, and subject complement.

      • Subject: To change is necessary.
      • Direct Object: I like to cook.
      • Subject Complement: My goal is to get a good score.

      Infinitives Classroom Poster Chart

      5. FORMING NOUNS: Nouns can be formed by adding derivational suffixes to adjectives and verbs.

      • Adjective + Suffix = Noun: -acy, -ance, -ence, -ist, -ity, -ness, -th
      • privacy, brilliance, intelligence, idealist,identity, happiness, warmth
      • Verb + Suffix Noun: -ability, -age, -al, -ance, -ence, -er, -ery, =ment, -t, -tion/-sion/-cion, -ure
      • reliability, marriage, arrival, importance, experience, writer, argument, addition, division , suspicion
      Noun Suffixes Classroom Poster Chart